Home Depot became the latest national retailer to re-implement a policy mandating employees wear masks due to COVID-19.
The policy will apply to vaccinated and non-vaccinated employees, the firm said this week.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our number one concern has been for the health and safety of our customers and associates,” the company said in a statement.
Signs directing people to wear masks will be present at the entrance of Home Depot stores, the firm said.
Store workers will ask people if they have a mask and will provide a free one if they don’t but won’t deny them entry.
“It’s simply too dangerous to have our associates forcibly or physically deny entry,” a spokesperson for the company said, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Other than Home Depot, Walmart and Target also said they would require employees—regardless of vaccination status—to wear masks in certain areas. Masks won’t be required for customers, however.
The companies said the COVID-19 Delta variant is the reason why the masking requirements are being re-implemented.
“As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the U.S. … we’ll require all associates, contractors and vendors to wear a mask while indoors at all U.S. Home Depot stores, distribution centers, office locations and customers’ homes or businesses, regardless of vaccination status,” Home Depot’s statement added. “We’ll ask customers to wear masks while in our stores and continue to offer masks to those who don’t have one.”
Home Depot stated that it is following updated masking guidelines that were provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after the agency released an update last week.
Mask mandates were also reinstated in federal government buildings, the White House, and Congress last week. San Francisco and six other California Bay Area counties, meanwhile, issued similar mask requirements for indoor public settings.
The San Francisco Bay Area’s health officers were the first in the nation to announce a shutdown at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
August 4, 2021 6:40 pm